Trust, Social Capital, and the Bond Market Benefits of ESG Performance

62 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2021

See all articles by Hami Amiraslani

Hami Amiraslani

INSEAD

Karl V. Lins

University of Utah - Department of Finance

Henri Servaes

London Business School; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Ane Tamayo

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

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Date Written: April 8, 2021

Abstract

We investigate whether a firm’s social capital, and the trust that it engenders, are viewed favorably by bondholders. Using firms’ environmental and social (E&S) performance to proxy for social capital, we find no relation between social capital and bond spreads over the period 2006-2019. However, during the 2008-2009 financial crisis, which represents a shock to trust and default risk, high-social-capital firms benefited from lower bond spreads. These effects are stronger for firms with higher expected agency costs of debt and firms whose E&S efforts are more salient. During the crisis, high-social-capital firms were also able to raise more debt, at lower spreads, and for longer maturities. We find no evidence that the governance element of ESG is related to bond spreads.

Keywords: ESG, CSR, sustainability, social capital, trust, corporate bonds, bond spreads, agency costs of debt, financial crisis.

JEL Classification: G12 G21 G32 M14.

Suggested Citation

Amiraslani, Hami and Lins, Karl V. and Servaes, Henri and Tamayo, Ane Miren, Trust, Social Capital, and the Bond Market Benefits of ESG Performance (April 8, 2021). European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) - Finance Working Paper No. 535/2017, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2978794 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2978794

Hami Amiraslani

INSEAD ( email )

1 Ayer Rajah Avenue
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Karl V. Lins (Contact Author)

University of Utah - Department of Finance ( email )

David Eccles School of Business
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United States
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Henri Servaes

London Business School ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://faculty.london.edu/hservaes/

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Ane Miren Tamayo

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

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United Kingdom
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